Defense of the day

A reader calls out some fellow commenters for overplaying the “Love of Jesus” card, and in the process raises the dilemma that the orthodox believer faces when confronted with unorthodoxy, particularly in online conversation:

Every time any of us click on the site in our browsers or  take the time to post a comment, we’re endorsing.  And, based on the volume of comments we see from you guys, your endorsements are loud and clear:  “We really don’t care what the preference of the site owner is, and we ARE interested in being a part of his community.  We endorse this site and we are glad to be associated with it.”  And you are.  Believe me, you are.  “To pretend otherwise” is recklessly  uninformed.

Most people don’t support voices they want silenced.  Most people simply don’t visit sites they deem offensive.   So, consider stopping your endorsements if you really are this concerned.  Bloggers blog because people read and participate.  Get it?  Everything about your constant “let’s get this back to gay” postings are so hypocritical in the context of your ongoing endorsements.

This is what I was getting at a while back when I commented on the “irony of [readers’] using my forums to demand my silence.” Ironic, for me … but a source of endless frustration and ambivalence, I’m guessing, for anyone whose beliefs call him both to come out from among the sinful (i.e. this blog, in many readers’ minds) and to be a witness to a lost and dying world (i.e. in this blog’s comments threads). Witness all the people in comments who repeatedly vow never to return.

I can’t speak for those people. But for my part, I’ve always tried to err on the side of more rather than fewer voices in moderating comments - just as I tend toward the side of more rather than less candor in commenting on the sg music I listen to - on the belief that more wide open debates are better at shaking out the merits of competing world views and arguments. Or, as another blogger put it recently, “It’s always better to put everything on the table and fight over it, than posture about which subjects are worthy of debate or scrutiny.”

It’s not always easy to trust the ultimate truth of this position. I know I certainly haven’t in every case. As the Avery icon at the top of page reminds us, I begin this enterprise anonymously. Similarly, while I’ve always made your comments a central part of the site, avfl didn’t include embedded discussion threads for a couple years. And until recently, I pretty much let readers assume whatever they wanted to about me personally.

So, starting with me, I’m not surprised that it’s taken longer for the “put everything on the table” thesis to be born out around here than it might have at sites with a less orthodox audience. And of course some readers still have a ways to go: note, for instance, how many recent commenters seem to believe that their erroneous assumptions about what kind of person would write and edit an sg blog is primarily my problem, or that what what they failed to perceive (or make their business to find out, if they care so much) represents some sort of secret. But in any case, these things take time.

To my mind, this vast difference between me and so many - though not all - of you only reinforces the value of pluralistic debate. Indeed, I think the pluralistic ethic in which this site roots conversation is probably one of its central attractions, even or especially for those people who are professing opponents of pluralism, which is what I think the reader was getting at the comment above. Whether you know it or not, you’re casting vote for pluralism every time you click the comment button.

So, to adapt the line I recall from my days as an Episcopalian (and with apologies to that dear soul, Howard Anderson): “all are welcome at these forums, of whatever creed, faith, persuasion or belief … or on this day, no belief at all.”

I can’t honestly say I always understand how some of my more orthodox readers manage the dissonance that clearly builds up in taking advantage of this site’s openness in order to attack it (or filling comments threads with Bible-quoting sermonettes and then complaining about the site’s bias against scripture), but I take it as a sign of vitality that The Line is home to such a wide range of outlooks and opinions that, by turns, intersect, harmonize, converge, and collide.

Email this Post

Comments

  1. SGfan wrote:

    Doug,

    Good argument. However, again I still take issue with a couple of things.

    First, “Whether you know it or not, you’re casting vote for pluralism every time you click the comment button.” I guess that may be your way of looking at it so that may be your perception. However, every time I click the comment button, it is an indication that I am not afraid to voice opinion and speak truth where it might not necessarily be welcome but definitely needs to be represented. I am glad you are willing to allow that to represented, even though it is contrary to many of your own positions.

    “how many recent commenters seem to believe that their erroneous assumptions about what kind of person would write and edit an sg blog is primarily my problem, or that what what they failed to perceive”

    I don’t recall ever making any assumptions about what kind of person you are. I think your own words have done a pretty good job of painting a picture of that on their own. Anyone who reads this blog very much knows you have been very liberal in your opinions and very sympathetic to homosexual causes and agenda. You have even cited homosexual oriented publications and you frequently lash out against conservative thought and values. You express a level of disdain for such things as Praise and Worship music in such a way that shows a lack of understanding about the music (or the content and foundations of the music). While many on here may have made assumptions about who you are erroneously, I have found it easy to paint a pretty accurate picture just by reading your own words. Your words tell far more about you and who you are than you will ever know. Over time, context develops an underlying theme and your own personality and opinions become very apparent. It is unavoidable.

    “all our welcome at these forums, of whatever creed, faith, persuasion or belief … or on this day, no belief at all.”

    Did you mean “all are” or is there more context to understand “all our”? I guess I would have to be familiar with Howard Anderson.

    Again, good argument presented. I just think you may have missed a few things, or at least have a misconcieved notion that my presence here is some sort of endorsement of your views. They are nothing of the sort (when it comes to the idea of pluralistic views) but rather a representation of the truth in the midst of pluralistic views. We christians are called to be in the world and not of it. We can not and should not shy away from discussions such as the ones here on your site. I do not demand your silence. On the contrary, I enjoy people getting a chance to see the differences. I also enjoy you getting to see things from a Biblical perspective rather than a pluralistic one. No “frustration and ambivalence” here. I will return, but for no other reason than to understand your positions so I better know how to present and apply Biblical context and foundations in response. This way, I know the truth is represented in the midst of the darkness. I guess that is part of the reason I get so many replies of hatred. A light in the dark draws the mosquitos as well as the butterflies. Some come to the light looking for warmth and healing, others come seeking to suck the life (blood) out of it.

  2. Dean Adkins wrote:

    SGfan stated, “A light in the dark draws the mosquitos as well as the butterflies. Some come to the light looking for warmth and healing, others come seeking to suck the life (blood) out of it.”

    Actually mosquitoes are primarily attracted to CO2, secondarily to movement and lastly to heat. Thus few mosquitoes are drawn to light and those attracted are primarily males, not the blood-sucking females (no offense intended).
    Also butterflies are diurnal; moths are nocturnal.

  3. SGfan wrote:

    Dean,

    Have you ever heard of a metaphor? Mosquitos feed off blood. They are parasitic. I didn’t know there were any entomoologists on here, LOL! By the way, go outside in MS on a night in July by a light on the front porch and see how many blood sucking mosquitos are hanging around those lights.

  4. Irishlad wrote:

    Haha. Dean Adkins, that was good. You anything to that great bass who sang with The Gospel Harmony Boys ?

  5. Dean Adkins wrote:

    Re #4: Will Adkins (former bass with GHB) is my brother.

  6. judi wrote:

    This post reminds me of the story my pastor told in her sermon this morning. She came to the office on Tuesday to find two messages on her answering machine. One was a two-minute rant from a woman who insisted that our congregation was going to hell because we didn’t practice or preach her form of Christianity. The second caller ranted for two minutes about how evil all churches and Christianity are–how much religion has harmed human progress and therefore how useless we were. So even at the culturally diverse Sanctuary in the City, the comments come from all sides of The Line. (The pastor’s machine has a 2-minute limit for messages. She’s generous, I think.) Our pastor said she prayed for both callers to experience God’s grace and peace, and then focused on preparing today’s sermon based on I Peter 1: 18-22……”and baptism, which [The Flood] prefigured, now saves you–not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ….” At the close of the sermon a new father came forward to reaffirm his earlier profession of faith and baptism. Wonder what will be on her answering machine this week?

  7. not a grammarian wrote:

    entomoologist - one who studies bugs on cows?

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked * Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

*

*